When this stress with university applications are over for both of us, we have decided to make another trip to La France. Specifically, to Paris. I mean, eating a shoddy baguette in the park between the tower and Pl. Jaques Rueff is romantic and that, isn’t it? Particularly when surrounded by the mad Parisian traffic. Right?

We went once before, on a very tight budget, where we spent the night with two somewhat homophobic dutch tourists that slept with their arses planted firmly against the wall, just in case. This time we’re thinking that we shouldn’t settle for a youth hostel, but maybe spend a few hundred euros on an actual hotel for a couple of nights.

I did actually get some lush dosh from my dad for those grades, and I still haven’t used any of that – well, if you discount the repair of my headphones. So, in a month, we’re thinking that Halloween in Paris doesn’t sound too bad. Right? It’s just a hop and a skip and a couple of hours on Eurostar away.

I hope the restaurant we ate at then is still open, because it had some seriously good food, and it wasn’t expensive either – something that I believe is somewhat of an anomaly in that city.

I’m getting all hot and bothered about being able to eat real French food again. I have nothing against the English fare, but it does not compare to French food. Why did I have to originate from two of the most culinarily unexciting countries on this continent? Well, at least I’m not from Norway. Boiled cod and potatoes, that’s what their fare seem to be about.

***

Sweden has this custom of giving out testimonials for this and that. So, if you work in a place, one of the things that you’ll be given when you end the employment is an employer testimonial. It’s a standardised form that affirms that the employee has indeed worked there. It is not a reference, so there is no evaluation of the employee. Most of the time.

Mark got his employer certificate in the mail earlier, and with it was indeed an evaluation, and it was fairly glowing. It wasn’t on the form, but attached as a personal statement with a paperclip, and it was written by the manager of the HR department of that facility. I love seeing Mark get praised. He becomes so flustered, and then try to deny it, or rationalise it away – but I can see how pleased he is about the letter. He carefully put it away.

How much do you want to bet that it’s going to be a part of the university application? A real Ph.D. in natural sciences heaping praise on him for his attitude and his work ethic. Yeah, I think my man will have a much easier time than me to get in, and that makes me so happy.

***

Last time we met Mark’s ex, I came close to assaulting that wanker. This evening when we once again met him, nothing happened. I didn’t feel a thing, not even jealousy. Maybe a little pity. Maybe my reaction the other time had a little to do with fear.

I mean, once Mark and this guy was close, as close as me and Mark are now. Maybe there was a little bit of me that I don’t want to acknowledge which felt threatened by that history – and I had a male chauvinist display of wanting to use my fists to wipe that smug smile off the ex’s lying lips?

This evening we went to a shared mate, and there he was, and he was up to his usual antics. As soon as he saw Mark he started acting up, and this time it left me cold. It left Mark cold too. There is nothing there anymore; not even hate. I am incredibly proud of Mark for that.

We seem to have reached a new level. I’ve thought that before, but it seems more and more true. We’ve always had this granite hard confidence in our relationship, as weird as that may sound reading some of the posts on this blog. But it’s true. I’ve never doubted us. Mark, I think, has never doubted us.

What mostly don’t come across here is that assurance when I turn over some little detail of my life for all the world to see. In the background, the holistic view of our relationship, is bedrock strong. That should be said, I think, sometimes too. Whatever little fights and schemes we have. Whenever we sink into our pettier little selves; however we strive for maturity and settle for peevishness; wherever we retreat to glare truculently at each other – we do know this. We love each other. That, in the end, is all that matters.

We will make a life of this, together. Like so many of our parents and grandparents that met their partners young and stayed till the end decades later. And he’s still the only one that can give me a kick in the solar plexus by just walking into a room.

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